Breaking the Heroic Ceiling
Despite the seemingly lack of hunters (and hunter bloggers), the hunterdom environment is actually quite the opposite from what I have observed. In my realm of Eredar, there is an abundance of hunters walking about Stormwind. As I pass by the streets of the Dwarven District, I see numerous pets out and hunters in their level 85 gear. You could say that being a hunter has never been more attractive with the slate of new abilities and pets made available.
Why then is it so hard to break the heroic ceiling and enter raids? On Eredar, there are a few guilds who are searching for good hunters to fill their core raid spots. Does this indicate a lack of hunters? No, it indicates a lack of raiding hunters.
Yesterday, a guildmate mentioned that raiding content in Cataclysm lacks hierarchy, which I found true after some consideration. Compare the three raid instances available now to the first tier raiding content in the previous three installations of the game. Molten Core, Karazhan, and Naxxramas were all massive instances with a dozen or so bosses. Now we have instances with two, four, and six bosses. Did you notice that the total number of encounters is still a dozen?
One would think that spreading out raids like this will allow more players to break the heroic ceiling because shorter instances seem less daunting. However, it appears this might be the contrary. Previously, players are required to go through the predefined progression set by Blizzard in raiding instances. There was a linearity in raiding. Currently, players can explore different raid encounters and achieve “progression” without having to enter the same instance over and over again. This is the irony of Cataclysm, the expansion that many have complained as being too linear.
Having reached the heroic ceiling, players find themselves unable to determine which path is the best to enter the raiding scene. After having put through a series of linear zones, they are thrown into the chaotic world of raiding where three instances mean four initial encounters to learn at the same time: Magmaw and Omnotron in Blackwing Descent, Halfus in the Bastion of Twilight, and the Conclave of the Winds. The task seems daunting, and even heroic gear does not seem sufficient to meet this challenge.
The key to break the ceiling, then, is focus. Make a decision in which instance you will make your initial progression in raiding. While linearity in questing is something new we have learned to dislike, linearity and hierarchy in raiding is something we are familiar with. By focusing on your personal progression, you will soon enter the “club” of players with item level 350 and above.
Remember that it is more important to be a competent player in a raid than to be a player who can pull big damage but disregards instructions. Strengthen your raid competency and you will soon find yourself in the raiding scene with raid leaders who are more than willing to explain the encounters to you.